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Home > News > Report

Congress holds training camp in Mumbai

Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai | June 09, 2003 22:59 IST

The Congress on Monday organised a daylong training camp for party workers in Mumbai.

Leaders of all 227 wards of the city interacted with senior leaders. Nearly 5,000 Congressmenalso attended the meeting.

Shivraj Patil, Balram Jakhar, actor-turned-politician Sunil Dutt, Vyalyar Ravi, Subodh Kant Sahay, Ram Niwas Mirdha, former chief ministers of Maharashtra A R Antulay and Vilasrao Deshmukh and the present Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde were the prominent leaders who attended the meet.

"It is just a party building exercise, which will give us directions on how to overthrow the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party rule in Mumbai city in the next local election," said Gurudas Kamat, president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.

Kamat was appointed as the MRCC president on March 16, 2003 at a time when the Shiv Sena launched the Mee Mumbaikar campaign. The Shiv Sena has been in power in Mumbai from 1984.

Asked if the meeting discussed the issue of tieups with 'like-minded' parties, Kamat said, "This meeting was planned two months ago and it has got nothing to do with the Srinagar meeting of the Congress chief ministers. But if some of the leaders wanted to interact with party workers on coalition politics, theywere welcome to do so."

"We get busy in our work and therefore don't get time to interact with ordinary workers. Such a convention is good for the party," Dutt said.

Speaker after speaker emphasised the party and its workers must follow the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

"Advani has been accused by four karsevaks of instigating them to demolish the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. So, you see their politics. They are sectarian people who divide the country," Shinde said.

Congress Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde making a point to his predecessor Vilasrao Deshmukh as actor-turned-MP Sunil Dutt looks on. Photo: Jewella C Miranda

"In Gujarat they asked for votes after burning houses and the Congress party asked for votes after building houses. So the Congress plays the role of construction and the BJP plays the role of destruction," added Deshmukh amid applause.

Criticising the Shiv Sena on its Mee Mumbaikar slogan, he said, "They don't want outsiders in Mumbai but at the same time they want to expand their party base to other states. If you have to defeat these people then you must be firm in your belief and ideology and only then you can defeat them."

Vyalar Ravi, who is the party's central observer for Maharashtra, said, "We believe in non-violence and the Shiv Sena believes in killings. They tell us that we are outsiders and at the same time talk about nationalism. What kind of nationalism is this?"

A R Antulay was critical of some party workers and said the Gujarat riots would have not occurred if the party workers had come out in huge numbers on the streets to prevent the riots.

"If there is a Muslim mob attacking a Hindu family then Congress Muslim workers should stop the mob and if a Hindu mob is attacking a Muslim family then Hindu Congress workers should stop the mob violence. Unfortunately that didn't happen in Gujarat immediately and it took some time for Congressmen to react to the incident .By thenthe damage was already done," Antulay added.

More reports from Maharashtra
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